Nigerian govt secures $600 million to address land degradation in 19 Northern states

The Federal government has secured a $600million credit facility form the World Bank International Development Association (IDA) to address challenges of land degradation in the 19 Northern states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, under the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscape (ACReSAL). 
ACReSAL is a 6-year project targeted at increasing the implementation of sustainable landscape management practices in the northern region and also strengthening enabling environment for integrated climate-resilient landscape management.
The project is also implemented against the backdrop of the insufficient nutrient content of major crops in the last two decades due to climate change forcing an expansion of the area under agriculture and increased import to meet needs Nigeria’s growing population.
More so persistent water shortages, especially in the extreme north has continued to exacerbate land degradation, desertification and habitat loss, resource shortages, violent conflict, cultivated agricultural systems not adapted to changing dryland conditions among others.
Representing the National Project Coordinator NEWAP ACReSAL, a Water Resources Specialist Ayuba Anda Yalaks  while speaking on the project at the Harvest Plus, ICRISAT  Consultative WorkShop on climate resilient and nutrition on Wednesday in Abuja explained that the project is targeted at addressing the challenges of environmental degradation in terms of  deforestation, errosion,  water management, meeting the needs of the people in food production. 
He said pending the approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the state government initiated project had secure buy-in of the state Governors saying being a community-driven project, people at the community level has been well sensitized
Yalaks further noted that the project has four components which includes deforestation, agriculture, water resources and environmental management.
Explaining why the project is focused in the northern part of the country, he said ” for this project we are considering the aridity index, the dry part of the country, because the challenges in terms of Agriculture, water resources management,  food production is huge which is why the project is been targeted at the north.”
In his remarks, Harvest Plus Country Manager Yusuf Dollar said ICRISAT and HarvestPlus are technical advisers for the project. 
He said the project is a climate activity from the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Agriculture, 
Furthermore, he said Harvest Plus  has been promoting crops that are climate tolerant but our primary objective is to breed and promote crops that have  high level nutrient that we can use to solve our nutrition,  and  livelihood problems. (Nigerian Tribune) 

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